Mild IVF: Benefit, Success Rate & Cost

by | Sep 25, 2023 | IVF

What is Mild IVF?

Mild IVF, short for Mild In Vitro Fertilization, is a specialized fertility treatment designed to be less invasive and intense than traditional IVF procedures. Unlike standard IVF, which often requires high doses of fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries, Mild IVF aims to achieve a more natural and minimalistic approach. It is often considered a viable option for individuals who wish to minimize the side effects and discomfort associated with traditional IVF.

 

What Does Mild IVF Mean?

At its core, Mild IVF means opting for a milder, less aggressive approach to fertility treatment. This approach involves using lower doses of fertility medications or even forgoing them altogether in some cases. Instead of pushing the ovaries to produce a surplus of eggs, Mild IVF focuses on quality over quantity, aiming to retrieve a smaller number of eggs but of higher quality.

 

Who Should Consider Mild IVF?

  1. Individuals with a Low Ovarian Reserve: Mild IVF is particularly suitable for those with a reduced ovarian reserve, meaning they have fewer eggs available for fertilization. The gentler stimulation in Mild IVF can be better tolerated by individuals with this condition.
  2. Older Couples: As a woman’s age advances, the quantity and quality of her eggs tend to decline. Older couples looking to conceive may find Mild IVF a more comfortable option that aligns with their reproductive needs.
  3. Women Prone to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): OHSS is a potential complication of traditional IVF, characterized by swollen and painful ovaries. Mild IVF significantly reduces the risk of OHSS, making it a safer choice for women prone to this condition.
  4. Those Seeking a More Natural Approach: Some couples prefer a more natural and minimally invasive fertility treatment. Mild IVF aligns with this desire by using fewer medications and promoting a gentler process.

 

Mild IVF Process Step-by-Step

  1. Ovulation Monitoring: The Mild IVF journey begins with monitoring the natural ovulation cycle. Ultrasound and hormonal assessments help determine the optimal time for egg retrieval.
  2. Stimulation with Low-Dose Medications: Unlike traditional IVF, where high doses of hormones are administered, Mild IVF employs lower-dose medications. These medications stimulate the ovaries gently to produce a limited number of eggs.
  3. Egg Retrieval: When the eggs are ready for retrieval, a minor surgical procedure is performed under local anesthesia. This is a less invasive process compared to the extensive procedures often associated with conventional IVF.
  4. Fertilization: After retrieval, the eggs are fertilized with sperm in the laboratory, typically through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or conventional insemination.
  5. Embryo Transfer: Once fertilized, one or more embryos are transferred to the uterus. Mild IVF aims to transfer fewer embryos, reducing the risk of multiple pregnancies.
  6. Luteal Phase Support: Hormonal support is provided to facilitate embryo implantation and support early pregnancy.

 

Benefits of Mild IVF

  1. Reduced Physical and Emotional Stress: Mild IVF is known for its lower dosage of fertility medications and fewer invasive procedures. This results in reduced physical discomfort and emotional stress for individuals undergoing treatment. Many patients find this aspect highly appealing, as traditional IVF can be physically taxing and emotionally draining.
  2. Lower Risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): OHSS is a potentially severe condition characterized by swollen and painful ovaries, which can occur in traditional IVF due to high doses of hormone medications. Mild IVF significantly reduces the risk of OHSS, making it a safer option, especially for those prone to this syndrome.
  3. Minimized Medication Costs: Since Mild IVF utilizes lower doses of fertility medications, it is often more cost-effective than conventional IVF. This aspect can be particularly beneficial for couples who are concerned about the financial burden of fertility treatments.
  4. Fewer Multiple Pregnancies: Mild IVF typically involves transferring fewer embryos into the uterus, which lowers the chances of multiple pregnancies. Multiple pregnancies can be riskier for both the mother and the babies, so this is a significant advantage.
  5. Patient-Centered Approach: Mild IVF aligns with the preferences of individuals seeking a more natural and minimally invasive approach to fertility treatment. It respects the desire for a less aggressive path to parenthood.

 

Risks of Mild IVF

While Mild IVF offers several benefits, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks:

  1. Lower Egg Yield: Since Mild IVF aims for a more natural response from the ovaries, it typically retrieves a smaller number of eggs compared to conventional IVF. This could be a disadvantage for individuals who require a higher quantity of eggs for various reasons, such as repeated IVF cycles.
  2. Lower Success Rates for Some Cases: The success of Mild IVF may vary depending on individual circumstances. In cases where a robust response with many eggs is needed, such as for individuals with a diminished ovarian reserve, conventional IVF may be more suitable. Mild IVF may not be the best choice for everyone.
  3. Extended Treatment Duration: Mild IVF may require more cycles to achieve a successful pregnancy compared to traditional IVF. This extended treatment duration can be emotionally challenging for some couples.
  4. Not Ideal for All Conditions: Certain fertility conditions may not be well-suited for Mild IVF. It’s crucial to consult with a fertility specialist who can assess your specific situation and recommend the most appropriate treatment.

 

Success Rate of Mild IVF in India

The success rate of Mild IVF in India, as in any other country, can vary depending on various factors, including the individual’s age, reproductive health, and the clinic’s expertise. Generally, Mild IVF may have slightly lower success rates compared to conventional IVF in some cases, primarily due to the smaller number of eggs retrieved. However, its success rate is still quite competitive, and it can be a preferable option for many couples due to its reduced physical and emotional toll.

It’s essential to note that success rates can also vary between different fertility clinics in India, so it’s advisable to research and choose a reputable clinic with a track record of success in Mild IVF.

 

Cost of Mild IVF in India

The cost of Mild IVF in India is typically lower than that of traditional IVF. This cost advantage is mainly due to the reduced use of expensive fertility medications. However, the exact cost can vary depending on factors such as the clinic’s location, the specific treatment plan, and any additional services or procedures required.

On average, Mild IVF in India may cost around 50% to 70% of the price of conventional IVF. It is essential to obtain detailed cost estimates from fertility clinics in your area and consider any additional expenses, such as diagnostic tests and follow-up appointments.

 

Difference Between Mild IVF & Conventional IVF

The primary differences between Mild IVF and conventional IVF lie in the approach to ovarian stimulation and the use of fertility medications. Here’s a summary:

  1. Ovarian Stimulation:
  • Mild IVF: Aims for a more natural response, using lower doses of fertility medications or even no medication in some cases.
  • Conventional IVF: Involves aggressive ovarian stimulation with higher doses of fertility drugs to maximize egg production.
  1. Egg Retrieval:
  • Mild IVF: Typically retrieves a smaller number of eggs, focusing on quality rather than quantity.
  • Conventional IVF: Retrieves a larger number of eggs, often resulting in a higher quantity but potentially lower quality.
  1. Cost:
  • Mild IVF: Generally, more cost-effective due to lower medication costs.
  • Conventional IVF: Can be more expensive due to the higher doses of medications required.
  1. Risk of OHSS:
  • Mild IVF: Significantly reduces the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
  • Conventional IVF: Carries a higher risk of OHSS, especially in individuals prone to this condition.

 

Difference Between Mild IVF, Natural IVF, Mini IVF & Micro IVF

Mild IVF (Mild In Vitro Fertilization):

  • Ovarian Stimulation: In Mild IVF, low-dose fertility medications are often used to gently stimulate the ovaries. The goal is to retrieve a limited number of higher-quality eggs, focusing on safety and patient comfort.
  • Egg Retrieval: Mild IVF involves a minor surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs, typically performed under local anesthesia. The number of eggs retrieved is typically higher than in Natural IVF.
  • Hormonal Support: Hormonal support is provided to prepare the uterine lining and facilitate embryo implantation.

 

Natural IVF (Natural Cycle IVF):

  • Ovarian Stimulation: Natural IVF does not involve ovarian stimulation with fertility medications. Instead, it relies on the natural menstrual cycle of the individual. The goal is to retrieve the one egg that is naturally produced during the cycle.
  • Egg Retrieval: Natural IVF also requires a minor surgical procedure to retrieve the single egg when it is mature, usually without the use of anesthesia.
  • Hormonal Support: Minimal or no hormonal support is provided, as the focus is on the natural cycle.

The primary difference between Mild IVF and Natural IVF lies in the use of fertility medications for ovarian stimulation. Mild IVF employs low-dose medications to retrieve a few eggs, while Natural IVF relies on the natural cycle to retrieve a single egg.

Mini IVF (Minimal Stimulation IVF):

  • Ovarian Stimulation: Mini IVF uses a moderate amount of fertility medications, but less than conventional IVF. The goal is to retrieve a moderate number of eggs, striking a balance between quantity and quality.
  • Egg Retrieval: Similar to Mild IVF, Mini IVF involves a minor surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs, usually under local anesthesia.
  • Hormonal Support: Hormonal support is provided to prepare the uterine lining and facilitate embryo implantation.

 

Micro IVF (Micro IVF or Micro-Stimulation IVF):

  • Ovarian Stimulation: Micro IVF uses the least amount of fertility medications among these options, with the aim of retrieving a minimal number of eggs.
  • Egg Retrieval: Egg retrieval in Micro IVF is similar to other methods, typically a minor surgical procedure under local anesthesia.
  • Hormonal Support: Minimal hormonal support is provided, focusing on simplicity and reducing medication usage.

 

In summary, the main differences between these three approaches (Mini IVF, Mild IVF, and Micro IVF) lie in the intensity of ovarian stimulation and the number of eggs retrieved. Mini IVF aims for a moderate number of eggs with moderate stimulation, Mild IVF seeks a fewer number of eggs with gentle stimulation, and Micro IVF focuses on minimal stimulation and retrieving the least number of eggs.

 

How Long Does Mild IVF Take?

The duration of Mild IVF treatment can vary from one individual to another and may depend on several factors, including the specific protocol used, the individual’s response to medication, and the clinic’s scheduling. However, a typical Mild IVF cycle can take approximately 2 to 4 weeks.

Here’s a general timeline:

  • Initial Consultation: This is the first step, where you discuss your fertility concerns and treatment options with a specialist.
  • Ovarian Stimulation: The stimulation phase usually lasts around 8 to 12 days, during which low-dose fertility medications are administered. This stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs.
  • Egg Retrieval: Once the eggs are mature, typically within 36 hours after a trigger medication, a minor surgical procedure is performed to retrieve them.
  • Fertilization and Embryo Culture: The retrieved eggs are fertilized with sperm in the laboratory, and the resulting embryos are cultured for several days (usually 3-5 days).
  • Embryo Transfer: One or more embryos are transferred to the uterus, typically 3 to 5 days after fertilization.
  • Luteal Phase Support: Hormonal support is provided to prepare the uterine lining for embryo implantation and to support early pregnancy.

It’s important to note that this timeline can vary based on individual factors and the clinic’s specific protocol. Consultation with a fertility specialist will provide a more precise estimate of the duration of your Mild IVF treatment.

 

Is Mild IVF the Same as Mini IVF?

Mild IVF and Mini IVF are similar in that they both aim to reduce the intensity of ovarian stimulation compared to conventional IVF. However, they are not the same:

  • Mild IVF typically involves lower-dose medications to gently stimulate the ovaries, with the goal of retrieving a fewer number of eggs while prioritizing quality over quantity.
  • Mini IVF, on the other hand, uses a moderate amount of fertility medications, aiming to retrieve a moderate number of eggs that strike a balance between quantity and quality.

In essence, the main difference lies in the degree of ovarian stimulation and the number of eggs retrieved. While both Mild IVF and Mini IVF offer a less aggressive alternative to conventional IVF, Mini IVF involves a slightly higher level of ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. The choice between the two depends on an individual’s specific fertility needs and goals.

In conclusion, Mild IVF offers a compassionate and patient-centered alternative to traditional IVF. It prioritizes the well-being of individuals undergoing fertility treatment by minimizing discomfort, reducing risks, and optimizing the chances of a successful pregnancy. While it may not be suitable for everyone, Mild IVF is a promising option for those seeking a milder and more natural path to parenthood. Always consult with a fertility specialist to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your unique circumstances.

 

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    Dr Mona Dahiya

    Dr Mona Dahiya

    IVF Specialist & Consultant

    Dr Mona Dahiya has performed over 5,000+ IVF cycles and is considered a global expert in IVF, ICSI, IUI and male fertility treatment. She is an eminent writer on Infertility Treatment and has over 100 Publications in both International and National Journals. Dr Mona Dahiya has immensely contributed to the field of infertility through her Research and articles.

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